Christian Louboutin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 1 August, 2016

I was introduced to the luxury footwear designer Christian Louboutin (1964 – ) thanks to my late French friend Laurent as he happened to know Christian as a family friend. Here are a few videos I am watching today. And I’m thrilled to include Louboutin to my Great Minds of Our Time series.

An Audience with Christian Louboutin: Full-length video | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 25, 2011)

Christian Louboutin Addresses FIT Graduates (published May 23, 2014)

Christian Louboutin Interview | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 13, 2009)


I wrote and shared this entry in memory of Laurent Jean Philippe Ravalec, my late and awesomely unique French friend, where one of our last video chats (which I documented here) happened in November 2015 just a day after the horrible Paris attack.

Talking to my French friend Laurent about Food (published April 7, 2012) is another video of us chatting about our common love: food!

Laurent, I miss you my friend!

The first door on the left changed her life

Wednesday, 11 August, 2010

Words by Radiolab” is one of the best radio shows I’ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended.

“It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We speak to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, and we hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke. Plus: a group of children invent an entirely new language in Nicaragua in the 1970s.”

A bonus video. Beautifully done.


No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media storm – A business case study (draft / beta)

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

Please note that this article serves as a placeholder for an ongoing business case study of the Southwest Airlines social media storm. Information contained here will be under constant update and revision.


Business case background:

Southwest Airlines was a respected brand only a few short days ago. So what had happened to the brand in less than 100 hours that caused people to say out loud that they will NEVER fly with Southwest again? Thus no LUV for Southwest Airlines.

The purpose of this business case is to look deeper into the causes leading to Southwest crashing its brand in a perfect social media storm. And how other businesses can learn from Southwest‘s mistakes.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 - N922WN, Sports Illustrated One (Swimsuit 2009 Bar Refaeli) at HOU by E-Mans

photo credit: av8pix @ Flickr


Dis-Revenue per Employee, Revenue per Employee, Southwest Airlines, Twitter, Social Media, Social Network

Raw research materials:

1) NOT SO SILENT BOB by Christi Day – Southwest Airlines, Emerging Media Specialist

2) MY CONVERSATION WITH KEVIN SMITH by Linda Rutherford – Southwest Airlines, VP Communications & Strategic Outreach

3) Smodcast #106: “Go Fuck Yourself, Southwest Airlines – In which, surely, our hero is Too Fat To Fly. And don’t call me Shirley.

4) Smodcast #107: “Thinicism – In Natali [the lady Kevin Smith talked about in #106] tells her story.

5) I’ve linked to some materials here in the blog entry “Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford”.

6) More to be added.

Principal researcher:

Kempton Lam  B.Sc., MBA

Background of Principal Researcher:

Kempton received his undergrad degree in Computer Science (with high distinction) from University of Toronto and is well versed in social media technologies from his years of blogging experiences. His MBA degree from University of Calgary has also prepared him to deliver comprehensive insightful study/report on time and within budget. During Kempton’s undergraduate and graduate studies, he has received multiple scholarships and awards for his academic excellence.

A Business Case Study (draft / beta)

It will take some time to complete the full report so please be patient.

What Kempton plans to do is to update this report in different draft versions. And keeping it as a “draft/beta” version until it is completed.

Concluding note for now

This report will study some serious issues and topics even though the trigger of Southwest‘s troubles may seem “trivial” to some people. But let me assure you, the business implication is deep and significant.

Just so you know I can laugh at myself and the absurdity in whole mess for Southwest. Here is one of my favourite ad, it serves to remind me to be humble and always be ready to do what is needed and right (and to learn).

Is Alice Schroeder, biographer of Warren Buffett, bitter?

Sunday, 24 January, 2010

Alice Schroeder, biographer of Warren Buffett (see my “Snowball” best of/review post), has a wonderfully written piece “Am I Bitter …?“.

In life, I often try to learn the best ideas and practices from people I admire. At the same time, may be paying less focus on their shortcomings. Not because the shortcomings are less important but because other people may have similar failings and I might have learned NOT to make these mistakes already.

So this post is not about me deciding if Alice or Warren is “right”. I love both Alice and Warren for who they are (their insights and their failings) and not for who I want them to become. I guess what I want to say Alice has, taking her words for what they are, really shown her “genuine attempt to bring perspective and balance to the discussion [of Warren‘s investment decisions].”

As I get to know Alice more from “Snowball”, her Facebook fan page and her blog, I’ve grown to treasure her investment insights, admire her sense of humour and her determination to report things as she sees them. Deep insights and reporting in a fair and accurate manner are the qualities I seek when I read a reporter’s/author’s works, and are what I strive to achieve when I write my own reports in my blogs and in my examiner business and entertainment stories.

I had praised Warren in telling Alice before she started the biography project, “Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the less flattering version.

I now believe Warren had made a mistake.

If I were an important and rich man worthy of a biography, this is what I would have told Alice before I share years of my life with her and let her write my biography,

“Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the MOST flattering version. Make up lies if you need to. Pay people to say good things about me. And you have to promise to Photoshop my photos.”

Seriously, I love both Alice and Warren. If I love Alice more, David (Alice’s lovely husband) will probably be kicking my ass. And if I love Warren more, I will probably be richer than I am because I will be spending a lot (and I mean a LOT) more time reading annual (and quarterly) reports of companies I may want to invest in.

Warren remains a great member of my self-created list of “great minds of our time“, regardless of the unfortunate turn of events between him and Alice.

P.S. Heck, an economist, one I deeply admire and has learned a lot via his books, is currently stuck in China because he has an outstanding US arrest warrant against him.

In life, I like to focus on the positive things I can learn from. But then it doesn’t mean that I will forget about the negative things and don’t try to also learn from them (mainly to avoid these mistakes in my own life).

P.P.S. I left this in Alice’s post and thought it may be nice to include it here.

I know it is almost impossible for you and Warren to be closer again (I avoid using the word “friend”). Hell will probably freeze over first. But then, I am an eternal optimist.

You see, Hell was frozen when Apple first worked with Microsoft.

And hell was recently refrozen again when Apple decided to use Microsoft’s useless-piece-of-junk Bing as a default search engine on iPhone. So evidences suggest Hell often freeze at unexpected time and more often then scientists had previously estimated. Good luck to you and Warren.

Aftermath of food tampering at Calgary Co-op Oakridge Centre store (with customers video interviews)

Tuesday, 19 January, 2010

Calgary Co-op Oakridge Centre storeCalgary Co-op Oakridge Centre store (bakery area)

CBC reports “More pins found in Co-op grocery products” (emphasis added),

A Calgary grocery store has discovered more pins in its products, this time pushed into plastic juice bottles.

The Calgary Co-op store at Oakridge Centre in the city’s southwest was closed for several hours Monday after pins were found in some bakery items. A sweep of the store by employees turned up more pins in bulk food items and in cheese.

On Tuesday morning, employees uncovered more of the pins.

“Before our centre opened this morning at Oakridge we did another sweep and we did find a couple of more products that have the metal objects in them. Those included some of our fresh juices in our produce department,” said spokeswoman Sarah Boutron.

She doesn’t know if the pins, which she describes as the kind used in sewing, were missed during Monday’s sweep or are new.

Although there are no official words from Calgary Co-op whether business at the Oakridge store is impacted, customers at the Calgary store all seem very understanding. To immediately alert the press and the public, Calgary Co-op appears to have done the right thing for the customers and for itself in the long run.

Here are comments from customers at the Oakridge Calgary Co-op (see attached video),

“No [our purchase decisions won’t be impacted]. It [food tampering] happened in the States too.”

“I rarely buy bulk [bread] anyway. […] If I did, I will probably check it out really well first. Cut it open.”

“I buy grocery here for over 30 years and I never had any problem. […] Yes [I will still come here and buy things].”

“Honestly, I couldn’t really care less. I am sure whatever in there, they taken care of it. […] Yes [I will still shop here].”

“Well, it can happen anywhere, so what can we do? […] I think they’ve checked it throughly. I don’t think they will be allowing customers in if there are more danger to be worried about.”

Note: repeated calls and voices mails left for Calgary Co-op press contacts have not been returned at press time.

Whose father was he?

Friday, 3 April, 2009

Oscar winning documentary directory Errol Morris masterfully investigated and written essay “Whose father was he?”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.



奧斯卡得獎紀錄片導演Errol Morris出神入化的寫“他是誰的父親?” 。

一部分。第二部分。第三部分Part 4, Part 5.

Olympic gossip: Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) getting married to Kenneth Fok Kai-kong (霍啓剛) soon?

Sunday, 17 August, 2008
Guo Jingjings gold medal awarded by Timothy Fok

Guo Jingjing's gold medal awarded by Timothy Fok - Photo: Apple Daily

OK, I enjoy gossip once in a while. (big smile) This post is pure gossip mixed in with some truth. Enjoy.

There are reports that China’s sweetheart Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) is going to retire after the Beijing Olympics and will be getting married soon. The Hong Kong Apple Daily has reported that Timothy Fok (霍震霆), HK businessman, member of IOC, and father of Kenneth Fok Kai-kong (霍啓剛) (reported boyfriend of Jingjing, had specially arranged with the IOC for him to give Jingjing her final Beijing Olympic Diving gold medal. That is sweet. :)

Read more about are the marriage gossips in Chinese here, here, and about the relationship between Kenneth and Jingjing in English here.

P.S. Dear readers, if I ever let myself become too much like TMZ, please kindly let me know before it is too late.

P.P.S. If you attended any of the Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) diving events and have some photos (taken by you) to share, please post them on Flickr and post a link to it in the comment area. Thanks.


Aug 17th 16:55 Update: According to Apple Daily, Jingjing is not quite ready to retire yet. So the news of Jingjing retiring immediately and getting married with Kenneth right away is simply rumour designed to sell more newspaper or get more readers to read blog entries by shameless reporters (yours truly included). Nothing more. :)

Here is an excerpt from the Apple Daily article,

郭 晶 晶 獲 頒 金 牌 後 表 示 , 獲 取 金 牌 是 她 生 命 中 非 常 值 得 紀 念 的 時 刻 。 當 有 記 者 問 她 從 「 未 來 老 爺 」 霍 震 霆 手 上 取 得 金 牌 是 否 非 常 高 興 時 , 郭 面 帶 尬 尷 之 色 地 說 : 「 很 高 興 , 取 得 金 牌 都 很 高 興 。 」[…]

她 又 說 , 為 迎 接 北 京 奧 運 , 她 已 苦 練 四 年 , 但 她 非 常 享 受 訓 練 過 程 , 更 強 調 很 喜 歡 跳 水 , 「 若 果 可 以 , 我 希 望 可 以 繼 續 跳 水 落 去 。 」 這 粉 碎 外 界 指 北 京 奧 運 是 她 退 役 前 最 後 一 次 比 賽 , 之 後 立 即 嫁 入 霍 家 的 傳 言 。

Aug 17th 23:58 Update: Here is a mention of the award ceremony in The Standard. Now, I have no clue why did The Standard pick this photo, out of thousands of much better photos, to use in this article? You see, Jing Jing had a really funny looking face in this picture. (smile)

New Quotes I Love

Friday, 15 August, 2008

Here are three new members to “Quotes I Love“,

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
Leonardo da Vinci

“Life is like a snowball. The really important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.” — a comment reportedly made by Warren Buffett

“To me young has no meaning, it is something you can do nothing about. Nothing at all. But youth is a quality, and if you have it you never lose it.” — a comment made by Frank Lloyd Wright in an interview with Mike Wallace

Olympics TV politics

Wednesday, 13 August, 2008

Some Olympics TV observations from AdAge,

“… one of Beijing’s greatest acts of hospitality may have occurred in negotiations invisible to the public.

That’s because Beijing agreed to schedule some of the most compelling competition for weekday mornings, which means live prime-time coverage in the U.S., at least in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Would we have done the same?
Like all diplomatic gestures, there was some realpolitik involved: The time-shifting helped Beijing secure the games — as well as record revenue from Western Hemisphere broadcast rights. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine such a gesture going the other way; would the organizers of the Atlanta games been willing to move track and field to Tuesday morning?

China’s Sweetheart Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) – 2008 Beijing Olympics

Sunday, 10 August, 2008

If you want to put a smile or touch the heart of a Chinese man or woman, just share with him/her that you really like Guo Jingjing‘s (郭晶晶) diving.

Just look at Guo Jingjing and her teammate Wu Minxia‘s golden performance in their women’s 3-metre synchronized springboard event and you have to admire their beautiful performance. Enjoy.

P.S. Although there is a key difference in mindset (China is not “enemy”) but learning about diving and Jingjing is as important as Nelson Mandela learning about rugby and Afrikaans (lesson #4) in his “8 Lessons of Leadership“.

First Dive (郭晶晶 吴敏霞 女子三米板决赛 第一跳)

2nd Dive (郭晶晶 吴敏霞 女子三米板决赛 第二跳)

3rd Dive (郭晶晶 吴敏霞 女子三米板决赛 第三跳)

4th Dive (第四跳)

5th Dive (第五跳)

In Memoriam: Randy Pausch, Innovative Computer Scientist, Loving Father, Husband, Son inspired the world

Friday, 25 July, 2008


Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch (1960 – 2008)

In honour of Randy‘s Tigger personality, I am re-watching Randy’s The Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams as I research and write this brief entry in tears.

The news of Randy’s passing was reported by NYT, MarketWatch, ABC, WSJ, CBC, CTV, USA Today, AP, AFP, Wired News, BBC, Brown Alumni Magazine, and many other news media. In this moment of sadness, my thoughts are with Randy’s family and loved ones.

Since I am watching Randy’s The Last Lecture (21 mins left), I feel Randy is still with us. In fact, a part of Randy will always live in my heart and I know I will revisit The Last Lecture for many more times in the rest of my life. Randy, I will try my best to live my life to the fullest and to strive to achieve my dreams (with good time management).

I would like to conclude this post by pointing out Randy’s favourite teaching tool Alice. – “Alice is an innovative [and free] 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing.


July 31, 2008 Update: This is from CMU, “In Memoriam: Randy Pausch, Innovative Computer Scientist at Carnegie Mellon, Launched Education Initiatives, Gained Worldwide Acclaim for Last Lecture

Carmen & Orrin – a cup full of Love

Sunday, 13 July, 2008

Some people ask “Is the cup half full or half empty?” Last night, at my friends Carmen & Orrin’s wedding, the cup was definitely full of Love. My better half, me, and the gathered friends and families all had a great evening.

Congrats Carmen & Orrin. We are so happy for your both. Wishing you both all the best and many happy years to come.


P.S. During the reception, the emcee quoted words from my favouriteHere’s to the crazy ones“. Here is Apple’s version of the words & images,

National Bank of Canada – Bad Customer Service

Wednesday, 2 July, 2008

In the age of cut throat competition in the banking & investment industry, I thought there is no more bad customer services until my unfortunate experience with the National Bank of Canada. Why do they bother having a customer service department when the supervisors and mangers at National Bank seem to have little understanding of what customer service means?

Is it too hard to handle, if the customer politely request to speak to a supervisor if the front-line customer service was not able to provide satisfactory answers or the customers think the response was not acceptable?

And when the customers were double charged for transaction fees (different from industry standard practice), why is it so hard to apologize and reverse the charges?

May be I was just unlucky and got some poor customer services.

Please share your bad (and good) National Bank of Canada customer services experiences here. Many thanks.


July 14, 2008 Update: Talked to their customer service reps twice since I wrote this blog entry. It is rather unfortunate that the customer service procedures (as explained to me by the reps I talked to) don’t allow the front line reps to hand over calls to their supervisors or department managers for smoother handling of problems.

May be it was not surprising that the National Bank of Canada customer service department sees no reason to improve their customer services.

By the way, I was told that they have fixed the misleading online information that mis-informed customers. Too bad they didn’t see it the right thing to do by reversing my double charges. Oh well, such is the service level of National Bank of Canada. I am so glad that I am leaving them.

Welcome home Mme. Arbour

Monday, 30 June, 2008

As former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour will step down today as the UN’s human rights commissioner on Monday after a four-year tenure, I want to welcome Mme. Arbour and her family back to Canada. Check out my previous blog entries here and here.

Do check out this great audio interview (27:17 minutes mp3 file) of Louise Arbour by CBC’s Carol Off (author of a wonderful book about Arbour). You can also watch the TV edited video interview, also by Carol, here.

Hockey Night in Canada theme – Can money buy Love & Loyalty?

Thursday, 19 June, 2008

As a proponent of Kevin Roberts‘ idea of Lovemarks (as a replacement of the “out of juice” brands, see here and here), I appreciate the key ingredients of mystery, sensuality, and intimacy. And if the concept of Lovemarks is to hold any water, I will argue that Hockey Night in Canada theme definitely qualifies as a lovemark.

Now, Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports, thinks that a $100,000 contest, some judging by a celebrity panel, and then voting by hockey fans will be enough to buy the love and loyalty of the hockey fans for the new theme slowly but surely. For me, I am not so sure. I think love and loyalty has a more enduring quality that can’t be built quickly in a few weeks and $100,000.

It will be interesting to observe the whole process from now till 11th October, 2008 when the new CBC Hockey theme is to be aired. At the same time, I will also be paying very close attention as to how CTV is going to utilize the Hockey Night in Canada theme. I for one will try to find a few hockey games to watch on CTV just so I can listen to the familiar theme as it has not failed to put a smile on my face (any rendition of it). And my friend, this is loyalty beyond reason. I don’t even know how good is their commentary and I will still watch. :)

Of course, if CTV is any smart (and I always assume someone is smart until they prove otherwise), they will have a wonderful package (good commentary, good selection of games, etc) and not just counting on the wow effect to keep the initial curious audiences. Thinking about it, I have to thank CBC (for giving up the theme so easily) and CTV (for paying the millions) so that we can all learn an important lessons at the expense of one of these broadcasters (reputations and money). Now, I hope you enjoy the following song.

Can money buy Love? (aka, “Can’t Buy Me Love”)

Kelly Chen (陳慧琳) – a lady in love

Thursday, 19 June, 2008

Hong Kong Cantopop singer and actress Kelly Chen, at the end of her concert “Love Fighters” last night, announced that she will be getting married with her long time boy-friend of 16 years (Alex Lau). After reading the news, my better half and I went looking for a video clip. Sure enough, we found the following clip captured and posted on YouTube. The poster of the video (molly0922, a fan of Kelly) was so happy that she pointed her camera away from Kelly right after her announcement. (smile)

To me, molly0922’s shaky camera actually makes the video clip more special as I could feel the joy (especially molly’s) in the concert hall as Kelly made the announcement. Congrats Kelly. Thanks molly0922 for sharing.

My wish on this Father’s Day

Sunday, 15 June, 2008

Dad, happy Father’s Day. Wishing you many wonderful Father’s Days to come. At the same time, I also wish you will quit smoking. :) (as we know smoking causes cancer)

On this Father’s Day, tears fill my eyes a little. As I know that prof. Randy Pauch is savouring today as this may be his last Father’s Day. And very sadly, Tim Russert (a loving son and great father (on top of being a great journalist)) passed away suddenly last Friday and missed this Father’s Day by two days.

Dad, will you stop smoking please?

If I have treated people from all walks of lives and circumstances with respect, it is a result of your great examples. I have worked hard and diligently as a result of the examples you set. I am curious and love to check things out because of your desire to find out more and ask questions. And I enjoy very much talking about the work you’ve done and how you did them.

Dad, I still have so much to learn from you. So will you stop smoking please?

To conclude this posting on a positive note, I want to leave this thought to my friends who recently (in the last few months or a year or two) became dad — live your lives as best as you can as your sons and daughters are watching how you live your lives closely and learning from you where you intended them to or not.

I suspect people like Randy Pauch, Tim Russert, Richard Feynman, Warren Buffett, Stephen N. S. Cheung, and Li Ka-shing are equally proud of their professional accomplishments and being good fathers to their children.

Finally, one advice to you. If your babies can’t sleep at night, try not to drive them around town to put them to sleep as they may love it and learn to rely on these drives (as my dad learned it the hard way from me). (Big smile)

Dad, I love you.

NBC newsman Tim Russert dies at 58

Friday, 13 June, 2008

I am deeply saddened with the sudden lost of Tim Russert. On top of his wonderful work as the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, I will always remember him as a great son and father (see his Big Russ and Me). His love of his hard working father and love of his recently graduated son will always stay with me. So his sudden passing, two days before Father’s Day, makes it even harder to take.

My heart goes out to Tim’s family, in particular his wife (Maureen), his beloved father (Big Russ, who Tim had to help put into an assisted living home days ago) and his recently graduated son (Luke).

Rest in peace Tim.


MSNBC – “The Gold Standard – Tim Russert’s legacy—in politics and in life

NYT “National Politicians Sought Out the Crucial ‘Russert Test’

Washington Post “Tim Russert: The Smile That Lit Up Journalism

Randy Pausch Inspires Graduates

Wednesday, 11 June, 2008

[via Randy’s May 18th update]

Links: 2008-06-02

Monday, 2 June, 2008

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